Home > BCS, Content Protection > The Eye of the Beholder

The Eye of the Beholder

Canon has filed a patent application for an innovative solution to the vexed question of how to prove ownership in photography. The application describes a biometric watermarking system, which works by capturing and embedding a photographer’s biological data (i.e. iris scan) into individual images.

According to Wired’s gadget blog, Canon’s application could provide a more robust authentication system for identifying the actual author / composer / taker of a picture. It included a link to a more detailed description of Canon’s Iris Registration Mode on the Photography Bay website. (Canon iris diagram)

Key features of the system include:

  • Hardware based system (i.e. included in the device or camera)
  • Acquisition of biological information of a photographer (i.e. Iris Scan)
  • Enables copyright protection by reliably establishing the identity of the photographer
  • Supports the registration of up to five users per device
  • Allows for additional information to be added to the metadata
  • Supports batch embedding to minimise any impact on the picture taking activity / experience.

On the surface, this sounds like an excellent solution for those that make a living from photography (including those annoying, to some, paparazzi). However, I wonder if / when, and how long it would take for someone to break even this system too. I welcome any comments on this one.

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Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.

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